DARED (Do A Run Every Day) – Four Years on and Still Running.
By Annie Williamson
I don’t really remember much about the first DARED (Do a Run Every Day) challenge back in 2018. I do know that it was the brainchild of Mark Fletcher, then a teacher at Broughton High School, an event that invited (or DARED!) teachers to run either 1 mile or 5k every day during June to raise money for Circle. As an employee of Circle I remember thinking that it wasn’t right to have these teachers taking part and for me to do nothing. So that was my motivation to run, and I signed up to do the 1 mile version. (I had a historical knee injury so I knew I had to take it easy.) And I loved it! It was very rewarding, got me my running mojo back and even seemed to strengthen my knee, as by the end of June, I was clocking up a few 5ks. I even managed to make sure that despite a beer festival, a long weekend in Ireland and a massive family gathering, I still did my run every day.
There’s something about making that commitment that spurs you on to complete the challenge, no matter what. And knowing the difference that Circle makes to the families we support was crucial to the motivation levels.
Then along came DARED 2019 and there was no way I wasn’t going to do it again. The challenge had been opened up to more than just teachers and it was great to see that there were others who were keen to support Circle by taking part. For me, it was slightly more challenging this time as I had to do my first few runs in Sweden, my last few runs in Belgium, and I also had to allow for a Forth Rail Bridge abseil (also to raise money for Circle), the annual beer festival, a friends’ 50th and a Proclaimers concert in-between! Again, I signed up to only do a mile, but again I was delighted that my knee held up to allow me to run a few longer runs including the brilliant midnight sun run with Mark Fletcher and a few others, doing 5k pre-midnight and 5k post-midnight, taking in a run across the Forth Road Bridge. Having other like-minded people to run with, and knowing that they were doing it to raise money for Circle, was fantastic. So, another successful DARED under my belt.
To be part of a growing DARED group, sharing our running experiences, was very positive and motivational.
And then onto 2020. With DARED so well established now, there was no way we were letting COVID-19 stand in our way. We even had a record number of runners sign up and raised an amazing £35,000, more than double what we had raised in the previous year! I felt ready to challenge myself a bit more and I decided to do the 5k version, convinced that my knee would hold up. However, after the back-to-back runs over midnight on the shortest night with my sister, my knee started to hurt a lot and I had to resort to walking and cycling for a few days before managing a 5k run on the final day.
Once again, I felt privileged to be part of this very special event. I am humbled by the front-line staff at Circle who support families struggling with a variety of challenges, so it’s great to be able to do my bit by taking part annually in DARED.
And then before we know it, it’s June 2021 and time to do it all over again! My promise to myself each year to maintain a level of running beyond DARED has never quite materialised, so I do get excited as June comes round again and I know that I’ll be challenging myself to go out of my comfort zone to raise more money for Circle. After my knee packed in during the 2020 challenge, I was more cautious and signed up for the 1 mile version, but I was delighted that there were many days I managed 5k, albeit that my runs were slower than in previous years – old age creeping up on me I think! And once again, it was fantastic to be part of an amazingly supportive group of DARED runners, sharing our daily runs on the DARED Strava and Facebook pages and motivating each other to keep going even on the toughest days.
For every penny that has been raised over the last four years (£75,000+), Circle owes a massive thanks to all the organisers and participants. I personally want to say a special thanks to my sister Jude Hogg and my friend Hazel Lumsdaine, both of whom have been taking part over the years and have help keep me inspired and motivated. Your efforts will make a big difference to the families who rely on Circle’s support.
Roll on June 2022!
(note: there was no medal in 2018)
To find out more about DARED 2022 and how you can take part please contact – Darren.Pike@Circle.Scot
Or see the event Facebook page – The DARED Challenge